David Huddleston, ‘Big Lebowski’ Star, Dies at 85

Actor played title role in 1998 cult classic

david huddleston
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David Huddleston, the actor who played the title character in the 1998 film “The Big Lebowski,” died Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reported. He was 85.

According to his wife, Sarah Koeppe, Huddleston suffered from advanced heart and kidney disease.

Born in Vinton, Virginia, in 1930, the veteran actor boasted credits that also included 2005’s “The Producers,” “Santa Claus: The Movie” and the 1974 Mel Brooks classic “Blazing Saddles.”

Huddleston’s decades-long career also included Broadway work, as well as television roles on programs such as “The West Wing,” “Jericho,” “Gilmore Girls” and “The Wonder Years.”

In the Coen Brothers film “The Big Lebowski,” Huddleston played Jeffrey Lebowski, a millionaire who crosses paths with a Zen slacker of the same name (Jeff Bridges), after the latter (popularly known as “The Dude”) is mistakenly attacked by thugs looking for the millionaire.

Huddleston’s onscreen performances also included a number of commercials for Citrus Hill orange juice.

While he is best known for “The Big Lebowski,” the actor’s wife told the Times that he believed his “crowning achievement” was playing Ben Franklin in the Broadway production of “1776” in 1997.

As news of Huddleston’s death spread, the actor’s colleagues paid tribute to him.

Actor Curtis Armstrong offered, “#RIP #DavidHuddleston. I once did a movie just so I could work with him. One of those actors who steals everything they’re in. Great actor.”

“Titanic” actress Frances Fisher tweeted, “RIP – great character actor & stalwart.”